EDISON — As part of remembering the deceased for El Dia de los Muertos, “the Day of the Dead,” the Spanish 5 class at The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison prepared a Wall of Memory commemorating the many thousands of lives lost due to Human Rights violations in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru in an effort to share awareness with others.
The students created a work of public art to exhibit Human Rights violations in the form of a remembrance that coincides with the practice of commemorating the deceased. They showcased what they have learned via research and the viewing of foreign language films. Information was shared with the Spanish AP class in Spanish and to peers and visitors from the staff in both English and Spanish.
Spanish 3 Honors students studied the Mexican Celebration of the Day of the Dead. The students chose a deceased artist, Salvador Dali, a deceased Colombian singer, Soraya, and the deceased baseball star Roberto Clemente to honor. As they learned the reason and ways this holiday is celebrated, they simulated the experience by collaborating on the construction of an oferenda (tribute or offering) and decorating it with the various products that not only represent the deceased, but also are typically used during this tradition, such as the marigolds, papel picado and el pan de muerto.
Each of these carries a symbolic meaning. In addition, the students were made up as Calaveras and Catrinas (images of death). The students proudly shared information about the holiday to audiences of peers, teachers and administrators both in English and in Spanish.
Earlier last week, Wardlaw-Hartridge fourth graders participated in a tradition that dates back over 60 years: Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, a “Kids Helping Kids” campaign. The students recently learned about the realities that countless children in the developing world must endure every day as they struggle to survive in the face of disease, disasters, and other hardships such as poor nutrition.
The students also discussed the difference between human “wants” and human “needs”. The class was amazed to hear that only 25 cents provides 10 children with clean water to drink for a day, and only $50 can vaccinate 85 children against polio for life.
The presentation motivated all of the students in 4C to volunteer to ask for UNICEF donations instead of candy as they were trick-or-treating for Halloween. By making a small sacrifice of their own, the fourth graders wanted to give their peers thousands of miles away the best hope for survival. The total collected from the class was $140.
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